Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 4- Mi Hermano Ramon (Race 6)
Race #1: 7-Dancing Rica has run back-to-back (83) turf Beyers at this level missing by only a neck in each start. He’s had 8 weeks to recover from that last sharp try and has trained well for today’s return effort. He appears to be the one to beat again in the Friday opener. 1-Irish Prophet also returns off a two-month freshening exiting the same November 19 event as top choice. He earned a career best grass Beyer (81) while coming off a troubled 5th place finish. The colt moves to the rail this afternoon and he’s produced a handful of close finishes at this MDSW level. Hernandez sticks. 4-Thirty Four Coupe returns as a first time gelding with Lasix off a year layoff for a barn that can fire fresh. The 4-year-old has good gate speed and is projected to be carving out the early fractions.
Race #2: The speedy 3-Naughty Evelyn goes turf to dirt on the class drop and this mare a been just as effective over the main track as the turf. She’s a strong gate-to-wire threat today while starting for a career low claiming tag. Recent Maiden winner 5-Parco doesn’t appear to be a quick as top choice but could very easily fill out the exacta and the potential one-two speed number. If the top pair hook up early on 4-Awesome Pamela is the likely beneficiary with her late closing kick. She comes in off a third-place effort at Los Al with an improving Beyer pattern.
Race #3: 6-Sassy Nature is the obvious short-priced choice and favorite off (88) Beyer earned January 9 with easy blow-out 9-length Maiden score at Los Al when geared down late. A similar repeat performance would make her extremely tough to beat today facing males. 4-Devil Among Us defeated a next-out winner Thirsty Pappy with a much-improved Maiden win when switched to dirt in career start number two. The colt adds Lasix today. 1-Clouseau also improved with turf to dirt maneuver in last with a come from behind closing score sprinting over this course.
Race #4: 2-Golden Temper goes 2nd time Lasix and blinkers today for trainer Carla Gaines and can move forward making second start at today’s mile trip. Hernandez stays aboard. 8-Love Our Family showed improved speed on the stretch-out at 18/1 when finishing 2nd in front of a handful of the same fillies she faces this afternoon. 4-Speaking Spanglish adds blinkers making second start on Lasix today after making a solid run along the inside rail late from last. The filly galloped out strongly past the wire and today’s key equipment change can have her closer to the early action this afternoon.
Race #5: 6-Prestigious ran a much better than looks sixth on December 4 DMR debut for trainer Luis Mendez. The filly was away next to last and didn’t kick into high gear until mid-stretch when eventually galloping out past the race winner. It was a sneaky good performance. This barn is a strong 6 for 21 (29%) with a $2.70 ROI with second time starters sprinting on dirt at SA. 3-Midnight Vow makes the all-important 3rd career start this afternoon with an improving pattern. This daughter of Broken Vow owns the field’s best last-out dirt Beyer (59). 7-Dance Kid drops in class and adds Lasix in start number two. He can build off slow starting 4th place debut effort and 4-furlong sub “best of 28” :48 drill on January 9 catches the eye.
Race #6: 4-Mi Hermano Ramon defeated a pair of next-out winners in solid one-mile debut win December 4 (which is never an easy assignment). This talented gelding by G1 winner Creative Cause has returned to work extremely sharp in morning a.m. drills since that encouraging unveiling. Lasix on today for hillside debut. 1-For A Laugh (Ire) goes two routes to a sprint today with the addition of Lasix and takes a serious class drop out of the G3 Zuma Beach. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 3 for 5 (60%) with a $5.08 ROI with turf runners returning off 61-180 day’s rest. 5-Mas Rapido (GB) returns off the mini-freshening as a first-time gelding with the addition of Lasix for trainer Bob Hess. His stateside efforts have been competitive, and he fits well here.
Race #7: 3-Saffa’s Day drops in class today exiting a December 9 “key” race for hot barn and makes 3rd start off the bench. This Mark Glatt-trained 5-year-old gelding makes second start off the claim and barn is a strong 7 for 23 (30%) with a $2.95 ROI with 2nd off the claim runners sprinting on dirt at SA. 6-As Amatter of Fact owns the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (84) and is one of two Steve Knapp trained geldings represented in here. Beaten favorite 2-Darnquick goes synthetic to dirt off the claim for a barn that has above average numbers with new acquisitions. The 6-year-old gelding is an 8-time winner and figures to be in front when they hit he head of the stretch.
Race #8: 6-Derecho Dandy moves back to turf and is reunited with winning rider on the trainer change. Bravo and Sadler are 6 for 19 (32%) overall with turf route runners. An upset chance in wide open finale. 3-Flint Stroll goes first off the claim for Team O’Neill and was only a head behind in recent runner-up finish against cheaper going this 1 1/8-mile trip. 2-General Mathis has been plagued by layoff lines but runs well fresh. A swift pace helps his chances. 1-Circleofchampions returns off a two-month mini-freshening for trainer Carla Gaines and owns the field’s best last out turf Beyer (81).